Shanks gets Swarmed

Stargate SG-1 star Michael Shanks told SCI FI Wire that he’s just wrapped production on an upcoming SCI FI original picture entitled Swarmed. “It’s not a bee [movie],” Shanks said in an interview. “No, it’s a wasp movie.”

Shanks plays a scientist in Swarmed. “It’s one of those sort of campy little throwbacks to the ’60s period of SF movies,” he said. “It’s kind of like The Swarm, where there’s this cloud of genetically altered wasps, rather than bees, that descends on this small town in Indiana.”

Shanks added, “It was a fun project to do. I always go into those things and hope the people involved actually get the fact that this isn’t supposed to be life and death, and that the important task is to have as much fun as possible and to maybe give a wink now and then to the audience and let them know that we know that we’re not putting men on the moon in this particular two hours of television.”

Swarmed, which co-stars Carol Alt and Ellen Dubin, will air sometime in 2005.

Sci Fi Wire article


Shanks and Judge: the future of the franchise?Fans gained an insight into the future for Stargate at London Film and Comic Con this weekend. During the Stargate talk, executive producer Michael Greenburg remarked that “the ratings went up” when Michael Shanks returned to the show, “and have been high ever since”.

Asked in the official Stargate magazine whether Stargate could continue without Richard Dean Anderson, Greenburg comments:

“…It would be a big loss. But the Stargate brand and franchise is obviously strong enough to get big numbers on its own. Stargate: Atlantis is showing that”.

Stargate SG-1 is showing the same trend as audience figures have increased despite Richard Dean Anderson’s reduced role. Season 9 has not been officially announced, but Michael Greenburg said in London that SG-1 should go on to “Season 9,10,11…” and that there are still many storylines to explore.

According to Greenburg, if Season 9 is confirmed Richard Dean Anderson will do only four episodes and Amanda Tapping will be absent for some of the season due to her pregnancy. While fans will undoubtably miss them, it sounds as though Bridge have been asking themselves who could carry Season 9 and they have decided Michael Shanks is their man.


Town Swarmed by filming
By Craig Campbell
Dundas Star News Staff

Producers of Swarmed, the thriller filmed in Dundas over the past two weeks, made the rare decision to keep the community’s name intact. Jacqueline McNeilly of Hamilton’s film liaison office said it’s not common at all for a production to keep the name of a town it films in. But for Swarmed, it was the right thing to do.

Ed Hanna, production designer for Swarmed, dropped into the Dundas Star News office last week to pick up a mocked-up front page of the local paper to use in the film. The movie’s Dundas police chief will be shown reading the newspaper and eating lunch in a local restaurant when he is attacked by a swarm of killer wasps.

“It’s supposed to be in Indiana,” Mr. Hanna said. “We decided to go with the name Dundas, rather than the fictional name in the script.”

He explained that the original script set the story in a small town called Woodlands. But after the production team settled on Dundas as the film’s sole location, they decided the effort and expense of covering up every sign and reference to Dundas just wasn’t worth it.

“Just to disguise a name? What’s wrong with (Dundas)?” Mr. Hanna said.

So when Swarmed is released – Mr. Hanna wasn’t sure whether it will be released theatrical or as a television movie – the story will take place in Dundas, Indiana.

Fourteen days of filming were scheduled, between Oct. 23 and Nov. 9, with all of it taking place in Dundas. The bulk of the filming was in the Dundas Driving Park. This is the setting for the fictional Dundas’ big annual barbecue cook-off, sponsored by a major barbecue sauce company. But the party is ruined by a swarm of mutant yellow jackets, accidentally unleashed by scientist Kent Horvath, played by 34-year-old Vancouver native Michael Shanks. Mr. Shanks has appeared in the Stargate SG-1 television series and several small films.

Scenes were also filmed in downtown Dundas, The Thirsty Cactus, and the former Dundas town hall – which relives its former glory by standing in as the Dundas, Indiana, town hall.

The production team used the 200-year-old building at 2 Hatt St., built by one of Dundas’ first residents, Richard Hatt, as their production office during the film shoot.

Mr. Hanna said that the Ontario government offers tax credits for productions filmed outside of the Greater Toronto Area.

“That makes Hamilton and Dundas very attractive,” he said, explaining that Swarmed producer Richard Schlesinger fell in love with the community while scouting locations outside the GTA. Mr. Hanna said the small town feel is exactly what Swarmed’s script called for.

Swarmed is directed by Paul Ziller and also stars model Carol Alt [presumably as entomologist Christina, who teams up with Kent to contain the swarm], who has appeared in Catch Me if You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio, and Private Parts with Howard Stern, and Richard Chevolleau as Q, Kent Horvath’s good friend and pest control expert.

The shoot in Dundas had a personal interest to Mr. Hanna, who returned to see the former home of his grandparents on Dundas Street.

Dundas Star article


Stargate SG-1 star Michael Shanks [Dr. Daniel Jackson] has been cast as the lead in new sci-fi movie “Swarmed,” currently filming in Toronto, Canada for Premier Bobine Productions. Shanks plays a scientist called Kent who is developing a new super-pesticide. His closest friend (played by Earth Final Conflict’s Richard Chevolleau) works in pest control and accidentally sprays a swarm of wasps with Kent’s experimental serum.

Instead of eliminating the wasps, the super-pesticide genetically alters them into powerfully toxic killers. When the swarm is drawn into a small Indiana town by the scents of a community barbecue, the town’s inhabitants come under attack.

As the killing goes on, Kent teams up with entomologist Christina in a desperate attempt to stop the swarm.

In an interview for, Sci Fi Channel General Manager Dave Howe discussed the role of Tom Vitale [Senior VP Programming and Original Movies] in purchasing new movies. “Vitale’s dealmaking skills have paid dividends in allowing the network to amass a library of movies that we can draw on for years to come.”

And the appeal of new, original genre movies like “Swarmed?”

Sci Fi pays a modest license fee of about $750,000 for the U.S. rights to each movie, whose production cost usually hovers at $2 million-$2.5 million. Although deal terms appear unfavourable to the suppliers, they’re eager to do them because the international marketplace has a fondness for monster movies, which travel well across foreign borders. More people continue to discover the Saturday Action Movie on Sci Fi Channel, whose Nielsen numbers are up about 20% vs. the same period a year ago.

“Swarmed” will be broadcast on Canadian television, and may also be shown in the US. Further details on the cast and availability of the movie to be confirmed.

Feature currently filming in Toronto, Canada
Premier Bobine Productions
Executive Producers: Tom Berry, Richard Schlesinger
Director: Paul Ziller
Cast: Michael Shanks, Richard Chevolleau
PM: Gordon Yang (Line)
PC: Gary Maher
Shoot: Oct. 23 Nov. 9/04

Thanks to Michael Shanks Online for the original tip
Grateful thanks to Sally Allan for her research into the “Swarmed” movie production


Online entertainment news site reports today that “Final details are being worked out but it seems negotiations are in the works” to have Stargate SG-1 lead actor and Executive Producer Richard Dean Anderson co-stars Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping and Christopher Judge at San Diego’s Comic Con.

IESB suggest that fans continue to ‘watch this space’ as details for this year’s Comic Con are being finalised.

Comic Con International will be at the San Diego Convention Centre the weekend July 22-25, with a preview night July 21. Check out the official Comic Con website for more information.
Comic Con International